Saturday 19 March 2011

We refuse to become more efficient

Interesting story in the SMH today about "secret" cuts to education in NSW.

What interests me about the story is that it talks about cuts, but also talks about the education budget blowing out to $13.6 billion by next year if savings are not made.

So what they are saying is that the budget will still go up - just not by as much as it would have before some savings were made.

Apparently a failure to increase a budget by a large amount is now a "cut".

Here's my favourite paragraph:

One principal who chose not to volunteer for the trial said: ''The notion of devolving responsibility to principals is a deceit because in reality it is about making principals do much more with much less.''
Welcome to the real world, buddy. It's all about doing things more efficiently and effectively - that's what "doing more with less" is all about. It's about exploring better ways to do things - improving productivity and cutting wasted effort.

I'd start by sacking that useless tool. Any manager that doesn't see their role as including continuous improvement and the constant search for efficiencies is not a manager in my book. They're a blood sucking leech with a bottomless appetite for other people's money.

1 comment:

1735099 said...

Been there - done that - under the Borbidge government in Queensland in 1997.
Our school community was offered a cash bonus if we took up the conveniently-named "Leading School" programme which passed a range of managerial responsibilities on to the principal (myself at the time) in return for more money in the school budget and the capacity to hire and fire, amongst other things. It was based on the oft-touted Victorian model which saw a major emigration of teachers to Queensland.
It was to be left to the school P & C and staff at a vote to decide whether or not to participate.
My colleague down the road worked the numbers with his P & C executive and they opted in. I stood back and left it to my parents and staff and they voted against it.
His school got the dollars which were spent on employing extra teacher aides.
We soldiered on. Interestingly enough, parental opinion surveys of school effectiveness taken the following three years after the exercise showed a consistent +10 point edge to my school.
At the same time as the scheme was introduced, research was commissioned by the department to show that there was a correlation between school-based management and student outcomes. It was run by the Schonell Centre at U of Q St Lucia.
When it showed (three years later) no such correlation existed, and that the only measurable correlation was between teacher effectiveness and student results, it (the research that is) was quietly buried.
So "Leading Schools" disappeared without trace.
The most effective way of improving student results is to improve the quality of teaching and school leadership. You could do this by paying principals and teachers what they’re worth. At the moment they earn about 3/4 of that.
The research backs it up.
Schools are not factories – “efficiency and effectiveness” are corporate managerial concepts that have yet to be defined in any way that makes sense in a school context.